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Expatriate CEOs: How do they adapt to the culture of their new country?

Do you have a professional mobility project in Australia? Are you wondering what are the best practices to know to facilitate your integration on a personal and professional level? To help you through this transition, we asked Sabrina Teller, founder across cultureA consulting firm that helps expatriate executives adapt to the culture of their new country.

Cultural Integration: A Challenge for Expatriate CEOs

Administrative procedures, job search, housing search, language barrier… Any expatriate project comes with a number of challenges related to settling in a new country and adapting to the local culture. As an expat manager, there is also a need for that Adapting to the administrative culture Destination country-specific occupational codes, as explained by Sabrina Teller, herself an Australian expat with over 20 years of international career:

“On a professional level, many challenges can arise during expatriation. First of all, you have to learn to manage, express yourself and address others in a different language. An expatriate CEO must also adapt to a completely new position, often with a higher level of responsibility and team. Greater multicultural (remember that in Australia, 30% of the population was born abroad!) It is therefore necessary to accommodate new patterns of behavior and a new way of managing within very short lead times, in order to be operational and effective very quickly.

Between Australia and France, there is also A number of cultural and administrative differences It must be expected before departure. First of all, hierarchical symbols are very different. In Australia the hierarchy is more horizontal than in France. The manager and the employees are placed on an equal footing and the line manager establishes a genuine relationship of trust with his teams. Methods of communication also differ greatly between the two countries: in Australia, exchanges are direct, honest, matter-of-fact, clear and direct, regardless of hierarchical level (subordinates do not hesitate to voice their potential disagreement). Finally, the decision is made as a team: each party participates and is invited to express their views. »

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Keys to adapting to the local culture as an expat CEO

As Sabrina reminds us, alienation can be represented as a curve divided into several distinct stages: “honeymoon” phasewhich translates into enthusiasm and enthusiasm to discover the new environment; stage of culture shock, which manifests itself in a certain amount of unease and frustration with cultural differences. then, integration stage and assimilation, where the expatriate becomes increasingly acclimated to the local culture, learns about the local cultural norms and expands his social circle.

To quickly adapt to the administrative culture of the host country, it is necessary to develop what is called the “cultural quotient”, as Sabrina explains to us:

“It is the cultural quotient, or QC, that will allow the expatriate to adapt to the situation in a new cultural context. Cultural intelligence has three pillars:

  • knowledge : In order to develop openness and discover another culture, one must first of all understand the cultural personality, values, beliefs and preferences in terms of ways of working and communicating.
  • sympathy To observe situations without judgment or prejudice and to fully understand different behavior patterns. Active listening is also very important for decoding exchanges. I also recommend paraphrasing information to avoid misunderstandings, taking your time before responding, and realizing that there are different approaches to the process.
  • Jurisdiction: You also need to develop your managerial adaptability and flexibility to adapt to different cultural situations. »

Expatriate Executives, Facilitate your cultural immersion in Australia with Cross Culture!

Whatever the country, good cultural integration is a prerequisite for successful expatriation and getting a job. If this stage of adaptation to the local culture is not properly anticipated, then many pitfalls may appear: frustration, tensions within the team, disengagement, low employee motivation, etc.

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To secure your cultural integration as an expat executive in Australia, Sabrina Teller, with Cross Culture, brings you Custom support :

“I have always been fascinated by different cultures. After studying international business, I worked for about 20 years as an Export Manager with multicultural teams, in France, England, and then Australia, where I have been an expat since 2002. During this expatriation, I became aware of the cultural gap with France and the challenges Which resulted in. That is why in 2019 I chose to become a multicultural counsellor.

With Cross Culture, I support expats in their professional integration in the host country. I help them understand different local culture and management styles, communicate with teams and manage projects efficiently, getting them up and running as quickly as possible. »

You can thus benefit, with Cross Culture, from Personal training programmesadapted to your needs and 100% remotely:

  • Intercultural training Day or half day with global topics for international mobility or management in Australia.
  • Personal follow-up sessions In short, guided formats, such as the 3-hour individual program “Expat lifeline”which aims to better understand the cultural differences in work, identify their cultural characteristics and identify management techniques and leadership style adapted to the culture of the host country.
  • Program dedicated to multicultural teams to help them collaborate more effectively.

With a dedicated digital platform, you are supported in creating your own cultural profile. This tool allows you to clearly visualize your cultural similarities and differences with your host country and anticipate any challenges related to your future expatriate.

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“This support allows expat executives to get to know each other better, anticipate different scenarios, calmly embrace their expats and develop their long-term resilience and adaptability,” adds Sabrina Teller, Cross Culture founder.

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